Report:MARPAT on STN/Customer Support/Online Help Features
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Online Help Features and Training
STN producers CAS and Fiz Karlsruhe both produce a large amount of free English-language training materials, and the services provide open access to all these materials on their websites. Database-specific information sheets can be found on the CAS website. A user guide and quick reference cards about searching MARPAT are also available on the CAS website. The support materials available from CAS can be found on their website under the STN Support and Training section.
Important resources available through CAS and STN include:
- E-seminars - Live and recorded e-seminars are available from the CAS website and STN International (Fiz) website. The sessions may be attended through Webex, and registration is required. Most live CAS e-seminars are on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and topics range over all available STN databases, software tools and search strategies.
- STN and SciFinder Open Practice Sessions - Users can sign up for two hour sessions to "use CAS computers, software, and login IDs" and get guidance from CAS search experts. The sessions are attended virtually through Webex, and users can come and go as they please, since no formal presentation is given during the session.
- Virtual STN Patent Forums – These live e-seminars, which users can attend virtually via Webex after registration, are usually once or twice a month on Tuesdays or Thursdays and cover topics on STN databases and search techniques relevant to patent professionals.
- Self-Directed Learning - For users who don’t have time to participate in an online training e-seminar or open practice sessions, STN offers online training modules in HTML format that can be quickly reviewed, or self-directed learning materials that can be printed and studied. These modules include practice problems and solutions.
- Quick Reference Cards/Quick Reference Guides/STNotes - These resources were designed to be printed and distributed to users for desk references, but they are also available online. Quick reference cards provide step-by-step instructions for practical STN commands, and also provide information on specific topics such as “Using Online Thesauri.” Quick reference guides provide broader overviews and search techniques on topics such as “Polymer Information on STN.” STNotes provide information on new and enhanced STN system features, like “Enhanced Polymer Polymer Searching in CAS Files.”
- STN News - STN produces an e-mail/online version of its news publication, which contains articles about search strategy and database content (there is always a special section for Database News, which discusses any changes in individual data files), product updates and system enhancements. The free e-newsletter is delivered monthly to subscribers.
- Free hour-long training sessions, known as the STN Patents & Pizza series, are held monthly for anyone who wishes to attend at a location near the US Patent and Trademark office in Alexandria, Virginia. The schedule for these sessions is available on the CAS training website. The sessions cover introductory topics on STN that usually focus on a single search strategy, or database, and often focus on REGISTRY searching.
FIZ Karlsruhe, the European partner, offers a compendium of English- and French-language training materials on its STN Training Center website. FIZ Karlsruhe also provides live workshops in Europe, the schedules for which are available online.
Finally, CAS and FIZ Karlsruhe often offer free workshops around the time/location of industry conferences, such as Patent Information Users Group (PIUG) meetings. Users should be alert for notices of free training opportunities on STN whenever a major industry conference occurs.